Reynolds’ glass half full

THE publication of the RFU’s ‘adapted community competition plans’ for the 2020-21 season has been greeted with optimism by Guernsey Raiders.

There are a range of competition models that can be applied at different season start dates as and when it is deemed safe to return to play and the models allow for any potential interruption in the season as a result of Covid-19, while providing clubs, schools, colleges, universities and players with a framework for meaningful competitive rugby with greater flexibility to enable games to be played.

The competition models are based on three potential start windows depending on when it becomes safe to return to play.

In Raiders’ case, following their promotion back to National Two, the three models are based on starting by 3 October, 28 November or 30 January.

The earliest would see a full programme of 30 fixtures, the next an adapted programme of 22 games and the latest a ‘half season’ of 15 games.

‘It is a positive. At least it is showing the RFU are thinking about it, which is good, and it makes sense to do so, they are just waiting on the [British] Government now,’ said Guernsey Raiders’ director of rugby Jordan Reynolds.

‘They are putting 15 games as the worse case scenario, but if we got to the end of this year without having played a game yet, you would be biting someone’s arm off for 15 league games and two Siam games.

‘Even that would be beneficial compared with not playing at all, although I’m being optimistic that an October or November start could still be possible.

‘There is a huge amount that could happen in the next three months and if I sit here and worry about it, it’s not going to do me any good. It is still out of our hands. We are trying not to get too bummed out about it.’

Raiders have started their pre-season training, although Reynolds explained how he has adapted the normal schedule to account for the delays and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.

‘At the moment we are just happy to prepare as best we can and we have already put a pre-season in place with some breaks in it because if we got all the way through to November without playing “footy”, it will send them stir crazy. There is only so much training you can do and still enjoy it,’ he said.

‘We do enjoy competition, but ultimately we play rugby because we enjoy it whatever shape or form it comes in, so we will find solutions around it.

‘We will be looking to play a couple of games, maybe up to four, leading up to the competition, but unfortunately we cannot keep playing each other here. Whereas the [GFC] footballers can go back into the local league and get competitive structure there, we have 60-odd guys involved in our Raiders and Vikings set-up and we are only close to getting two sides out to play each other at their respective level and it is not beneficial to play that game six or seven times – two or three times, yes.

‘That is something we are going to have to deal with internally and if we can get these games against the Isle of Man, which have been mooted, that would be great, but there’s still a lot to be agreed and we have to wait on travel details because they might not be convenient.’

Going by the eight-team Women’s Leagues models published, the Guernsey Raiders Ladies, who play in Women’s NC One South East (South), would not start their season until 2021.

Their playing window starts by either 30 January, 27 February or 20 March.

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